Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 19th, 2001

Yankees at Blue Jays

I've attended a couple of pretty long games--including a four and a half four, thirteen inning affair on a rainy night in Baltimore, by the end of which the crowd was rooting for whichever team was batting at the time--but in honor of yesterday's real marathon, I thought I'd do today's game, the longest I remember following start to finish.

The Yankees entered the game at 8-7 and the Jays at 11-4. Starting for the Yankees was "The Rocket," Roger Clemens (a one-time Jay) opposed by Joey Hamilton. Hamilton ran into trouble early, walking three men in the first inning, giving up two runs. Clemens struck out the side in the first inning and the game remained 2-0 after the second. The Yankees scored another run in the third on a Tino Martinez ground out.

The wheels came off for Clemens in the bottom of the third, however, as he allowed five runs on five hits, the big blow being Jose Cruz' triple, which brought home three runs. The fourth inning passed without incident but in the fifth the Yankees tied the game on a Paul O'Neill double followed by a David Justice homer. Neither team would score through the rest of the game--though the Yankees would load the bases in the eighth and Jays did the same in their half of the ninth.

Both teams got a base runner in the tenth but it was for naught and the eleventh passed uneventfully. The Yankees got Scott Brosius to third with just one out in the twelfth but nothing came of it, just as the Jays were unable to do anything with runners on first and second in the bottom half of the inning. At this point I was torn between my desire and need to go to bed--it was a Thursday school night--and my even stronger desire to stay up and hear the end of the game.

The game remained tied all the way to the seventeenth inning, at which point I was barely awake but nonetheless still anxious to hear the end of the game, especially a Yankee victory. Staying up all night is one thing, but staying up all night only to have your team lose is quite another. This seemed a very real possibility at some points--Toronto had the bases loaded and Brad Fullmer up in the sixteenth--but I persisted. Extra inning games like this are a not unlike getting involved in a big pot in poker despite only having a low pair: you know you shouldn't be doing it, but you have so much invested already, you're unwilling to quit.

Finally, in the seventeenth, Chuck Knoblauch walked with two outs. Back-to-back Jeter and O'Neill singles brought Knoblauch home and gave the Yankees, at last, a one-run lead. Ramiro Mendoza, the Yankees' seventh pitcher of the night entered and although he surrendered a walk, it was quickly erased in a game-ending double play, putting the game (and more importantly, me) to bed after nearly six hours.

(If you're curious about all the particular goings-on, who pitched and so forth, you can check out the game's combined box score and play-by-play at Retrosheet.)

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